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Arkansas River Fishing Information
Tailwater Section - near Pueblo, CO
The Arkansas River Tailwater is an excellent tailwater that has grown in popularity over the last 10 years. Best as a winter fishery, it is heavily stocked with rainbows each year and provides anglers a chance to catch a lot of small fish (8-14”) with opportunities throughout the river to catch some sizeable fish as well. Though it fishes well as a nymph fishery, the biggest pull of this river is your opportunity to fish dry flies during the winter months. Strong Midge and Blue Wing Olive Mayfly hatches occur throughout the winter and being in Pueblo, the river sees warmer water days than most during the winter months making this both a place to beat out the cold and find some great fish.
Tips on Fishing the “P-Lo”
Though you can fish this river year round (except during run off) it is best fished during the winter months. Flows drop to a consistent 150 cfs and the fish really settle into a stride. Here are a few tips to make the most of your trip on the Arkansas Tailwater aka P-Lo.
Fish Small Dries – Yes you get to fish dries during the winter, that doesn’t mean to bring your hoppers and mouse patterns. Sizes #18 are as big as they get and it’s best to focus on BWO and Midge patterns that are sizes #22-#26. Using a small strike indicator or a larger fly in front to help detect your small fly will help a lot, but leave plenty of room in between your flies to help the small fly float naturally. It’s not uncommon with the right sized fly to have a 50 fish day on the Ark when the dries are coming off.
Explore the River – If the fish aren’t working in a stretch, don’t sit there, move and fish a new hole, or a different type of water, or a different section all together. There are many miles of fishable river and though the biggest fish seem to hang out closer to the dam, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some nice fish (and often less pressured) down even into town.
Fish Types: Rainbow Trout, Cutbow Trout, Brown Trout
Dog Friendly: Yes but Leashed
Located in the Arkansas River Basin near Pueblo, CO
Fishable Seasons & Current Weather
The best seasons to fish this river are Winter. See the current weather reports for the next 5-6 days listed below for the nearest city.
wind: 8mph SSW
H 72 • L 69
Weather from OpenWeatherMap
Knowing what flies to use is only have the battle. You have to know when the insects are active on the water and when it's likely the trout are feeding on them. Refer to our hatch charts below to understand when the insect categories and some of the possible hatches on the river.
Midges hatch year round, but their importance is from September through winter into April. During the warmer months, the trout often focus on larger insects as they are more active on the water like mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.
Aside from Blue wing olives, mayflies are active most commonly from May to August in Colorado. There are many different mayfly hatches found on most rivers and the most common are listed below.
Blue Wing Olive: September throut winter to April
Caddis hatch starting early in May and continue to the end of October.
Colors: Olive, Green, Yellow, Tan, Orange, Brown and Black.
Sizes: #10 - #20
We have some great stonefly hatches in Colorado and while not all rivers carry all species of salmonflies, you can often fish stonefly adult patterns with confidence from May to September. Start off in bigger sizes and get smaller till September hits (size 8 - 16)
Terrestrials don't hatch since they are out of the water, but they can have importance starting in Mid April and ending in September.
These are the the top flies we sell for this river. Use the hatch chart above to know what flies you will want to have in your fly box during your adventure on the river and then select the flies here 30 days before your trip to get them at a great price. All of our flies are hand tied to each order to ensure quality and to keep our prices low for you.
Click on a fly below to select a size and color for purchase.
If you need an easier solution than selecting each fly and size, try out our top fly assortments for this river that will put all the flies you need in a single order for this river. We've already selected the flies we use in our fly box for this river including the sizes and colors and put them in these assortments so you can fish with the confidence that you have the right flies in your box.
Click on any of the pictures to see what flies, colors and sizes we recommend in each assortment.
Use these epic resources to get ready for your adventure. Whether you're planning your trip, learning your insects, improving your fishing with expert tips or getting detailed resources from the USGS streamflows or DoW, we got you covered to help you find the river and find the success you want.